Ecclestone: New Jersey still viable, French GP set to return

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Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that he is still in close contact with the organizers of the proposed Grand Prix of America in New Jersey, with plans for a race in 2015 still in place.

After being postponed in both 2013 and 2014, doubt has been raised about the likelihood of the race at Port Imperial going ahead. However, Ecclestone said that financial solutions are being found by promoter Leo Hindery Jr.’s team, and that he is happy for the race to go ahead once everything is in place.

“New Jersey have just written to me,” he explained to racer.com. “Somebody has paid some more money for outstanding bills and they are saying they have got more money coming in. If they do what they have to do, I’m happy.”

Ecclestone also revealed that the French Grand Prix could be poised to make a comeback, having last been held in 2008.

“We have got a contract on the table with France for a race at Magny-Cours,” he said. “To meet the terms of our contract, the organizers will need money and we will want some kind of guarantee that it’s not going to be a one-night stand.”

With three French drivers in Formula 1 and a large fanbase in the nation, returning to Magny-Cours would be a popular move.

As ever though, it appears that there are more races than there are places on the calendar. Currently, the figure stands at 19. Throw in New Jersey, Mexico, France, India, Korea, and (believe it or not) Azerbaijan, and it creates a struggle for a place on the calendar that could ultimately come down to whoever has the biggest wallet.

Ecclestone also approached the organizers at Long Beach about a possible return for F1 in California after the contract was opened up for bidding.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.